Buying a property is one of the most significant investments most people will make. Due to its significance, there is a lot to think about, consider, and do before signing any contracts or completing transactions. You have to ensure the property you buy does not have hidden or potential issues that could make you unhappy in a few years or cost you extra to fix before or after moving in. One of the best ways of doing this is by getting a survey.
What is a Home Survey?
A survey is an inspection done to check the property’s condition. They are carried out on different types of property to check for any issues with the property. These could be minor or significant structural issues that make the property uninhabitable or not a viable option.
When you buy a property, you need to know whether it needs repairs or alterations and how that could affect its value or cause headaches in the future. A house survey provides the information you need to determine that before you commit to the purchase.
In addition, it gives you the information you need to negotiate the price of the house, where you can get a discount based on the cost of the repairs or ask the seller to do the necessary repairs before you complete the purchase.
Do I Need A Surveyor To Buy A Property?
Yes and no. Legally, you are not required to get a house survey when buying a home. However, you should get one as it will help you avoid any surprises that can arise after you buy a property. It also gives you peace of mind in knowing it is in order and that if there are any minor issues, they are not too expensive to fix.
Since the average cost of a property in the UK is around £290k, investing a few hundred pounds to get a chartered surveyor to survey your home is something you should seriously consider.
You should always get a building survey if:
You are investing in or buying listed buildings
The property is timber framed or has a thatched roof
You are buying an unusual or old property
You are unsure of the property’s condition
You have specific concerns about any part or aspect of the property
Who Does a House Survey?
An RICS home survey is carried out by qualified surveyors who are members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This is a recognised professional body that enforces qualifications and standards in the residential property industry.
An RICS surveyor will give you the highest quality service.
What Are The Different Types of House Surveys?
There are different home surveys, as we will see below. The one you choose will depend on your budget, the property’s age and condition, and the depth of the survey.
Level 1 Survey
Also known as the RICS Condition Report, a level 1 survey is the most basic and cheapest type of home survey. It is the best option if you want one for a new home made of conventional materials and is in reasonably good condition.
The RICS condition report provides a general overview of the condition of the property, services, and grounds, pointing out problems that require attention. You should know this report does not provide in-depth details, advice, or a valuation, and is not one that we offer.
RICS Home Survey Level 2
The RICS Home Survey Level 2 is also known as the homebuyer’s report. It is the best option if you are buying a conventional property that is in reasonable condition or one that has not had any major alterations. It is also an excellent option for homes less than 50 years old. RICS home survey level 2 includes a more thorough review of the home’s interior and exterior, including outbuildings, cellars, roof spaces, conservatories, and garages. Once the survey is done, you will be sent a report that rates the issues they have found graded using the traffic light system. This system helps you understand the severity of the issues found and how urgent their repairs are. The surveyor will also recommend additional investigation if they cannot reach a conclusion. You can also get an optional valuation with an RICS home survey level 2. If you decide to get the valuation alongside the survey, you will get a valuation report. This report includes the property’s market value and a reinstatement cost for buildings insurance purposes.
RICS Home Survey Level 3
The RICS building survey or the RICS Home Survey Level 3 is a thorough survey recommended for homes that are older than 50 years. It is also recommended if it has an unusual design, is in poor condition, or is a listed building. If you have concerns about the property or are comfortable with repairs after buying, you should also get a Level 3 property survey.
The RICS home survey level 3 will provide you with everything you get with a level 2 survey, including the optional market valuation, and much more.
For example, Peer King Surveyors will ascertain how the property was built, the materials used, and how they will hold up in the future. They will also tell you the repair options and what will happen to the property if these issues are not taken care of, as well as estimate the cost of completing the necessary repairs and how energy efficient the property is.
You can get a thorough building survey by contacting Peer King Surveyors at https://www.peerkingsurveyors.com/ where you can also discuss whether getting a homebuyer’s report would be better for you. Surveys can be booked online.
Why You Need a House Survey
There are legitimate reasons why you should get a house survey beyond what we have discussed above, which include peace of mind, and avoiding surprises, additional costs, and headaches.
A Surveyor Will Give You a Different Perspective
It is understandable if you fall in love with a home as soon as you see it. Maybe you start picturing your family living in it as soon as you experience its internal and external spaces. You can also be clouded by your judgement when you see a home that looks ideal for you and your family.
A house survey done by an RICS-registered firm can give you a different perspective which allows you to judge the property more objectively. They may uncover issues that you otherwise would have missed due to being impressed with or falling in love with the property.
A Building Survey Will Save You Money
If you do not notice serious issues with the house that a survey would have uncovered, you might have to spend thousands to rectify them compared to the money you would have otherwise spent.
In addition to saving you money, the survey will help you understand the cost of putting everything right, so you know whether you should continue with the purchase.
Do I need a Home Survey If I Pay Cash?
Yes, you do. As with buying one using a mortgage, it is not a legal requirement, but it would be a bad idea to invest your money in a home with issues that a survey can uncover easily. Remember that you will have to have a mortgage valuation if you decide to buy using a mortgage, but you do not have the same safety net when paying cash.
A mortgage valuation is not a homebuyer’s report or building survey, but a simple look at the home to assess its worth. Lenders require this report to ensure the home’s value provides sufficient security for the mortgage (loan) they give you.
You will be required to use a company the lender trusts, and you will pay for it as the buyer. What you pay for the mortgage valuation will depend on the property’s size. However, some lenders will provide a free valuation as part of their deal.
Remember to watch out for other terms. Some lenders use the valuation to entice homebuyers because they charge higher interest rates. They hope saving some money upfront will lead to some buyers not considering the long-term cost of the mortgage. It is, therefore, much better to pay for the valuation yourself and then find a lender with a lower interest rate and favourable terms.
How to Choose a Surveyor When Buying a Property
Most importantly, choose a surveyor that is Regulated by RICS. They will provide you with better service.
It is also best to pick one from your local area. A local surveyor will be knowledgeable about the area, the properties, and the challenges to look out for and that you are likely to face once you purchase the property.
You need a survey when buying a house, even though it is not strictly required. The surveyor will do a survey depending on your needs to highlight any issues with the house and, in some cases, provide a valuation. The survey will also save you money and from future headaches. They will also give you peace of mind in knowing you are making a sound investment with the complete understanding of what exactly you are getting.
Contact us to learn more.